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Houlind takes Banijay Zodiak Nordic top job

Jacob Houlind has been named group CEO of a merged Nordic division at fledgling super-indie Banijay Group.

Jacob Houlind_Feb 16Houlind (left), previously CEO of Nordisk Film TV, will lead Banijay Zodiak Nordic, with Zodiak Nordic chief executive Johannes Jensen named VP and deputy group CEO.

Banijay Zodiak Nordic will comprise the merged Scandinavian assets of Banijay Group and Zodiak Media, which this week completed their merger.

Prodcos in the group include Nordisk Film TV, Pineapple Entertainment, Yellowbird, Mastiff, Jarowskij, Zodiak Finland, and Respirator Media & Development.

Jensen (below, right) has also been named CEO of Wallander prodco Yellowbird, while Zodiak Nordic’s Mikael Royson becomes Banijay Zodiak Nordic CFO.

Houlind and Jensen have worked together in the past, with the latter noting they had spent “many days trying to sell reality shows to US networks at the beginning of the century”.

TBI understands Nordisk Film TV’s Nordic COO, Karoline Spodsberg, and Mastiff managing director Peter Hansen are set for new roles at the company, with announcements likely tomorrow.

Johannes JensenBanijay Group said “further senior announcementsat the Banijay Zodiak Nordic Group will be announced shortly”.

Houlind described the new-look Scandinavian team as “a true merger with an equal mix of former Zodiak and Banijay Nordic people”.

“Both Banijay and Zodiak have been highly successful over recent years in our region, so the good thing is that no part could or should feel any better than the other. We start on the same exciting new page together.

He added the plan was to allow the subsidiaries to compete for business and maintain their individual identities.

“Our joint brands will enable us to cover all genres and complement each other in the best way possible across all the Nordic territories,” said Jensen. “We will continue to invest in development of formats and ideas at an even higher level than before, which will allow our clients to become even more successful.”

Houlind added: “On a personal note I feel like my mom and dad have finally come together again, since Zodiak was where I took my infant steps in television back in the last century, before leaving to build Nordisk Film TV ten years ago.”

The new Banijay officially came into being yesterday, with Marco Bassetti in charge as CEO. Tim Mutimer is to run the merged sales arm, which will operate as Zodiak Rights, with Emmanuelle Namiech leaving the company as a result.